Shifts in customer behavior drive Cyber Monday’s success

By Jonathan Hassell, on | Retail

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It used to be that Black Friday ruled the roost among retail success stories, with throngs of consumers ready to plunk down their hard-earned money and retailers eager to grab up that market share. However, Cyber Monday has emerged as a new success story, even going so far as to steal some of Black Friday’s thunder.

The three following key factors have shifted customer behavior toward online purchases during the now very popular Cyber Monday event:

1. A poor in-store experience drives consumers to seek alternative shopping channels

Think about buying items in a store. Retailers have an increasingly big problem ordering the right inventory for stores to match demand, so there’s a decent chance whatever item a consumer is after is not actually in stock. It’s challenging to buy clothing or technology with appropriate sizing and configuration options in stores. In order to save money, retailers consolidate locations, making the stores less convenient for customers and more crowded as the same number of shoppers finds fewer locations to shop. Especially during shopping events like Black Friday, customers can find themselves essentially fighting through a mob for a chance to secure an item or two. Buying online during Cyber Monday seems downright responsible compared to the poor in-store experience consumers often get in today’s landscape.

2. The shift to mobile makes it easy for consumers to make impulse purchase decisions

The ease of shopping with a mobile phone from wherever a consumer might be — on the couch, in line at Starbucks, waiting in the airport terminal for a plane — makes consumption and near-instantaneous buying decisions much simpler and more straightforward. In addition, technology makes it easy for items that match a customer’s preferences and interests to surface to the top in a way print ads and walking around a retail store will never be able to match. This is a key part of most organizations’ mobile strategy. When your customer can get push notifications that an item he or she has been looking at for some time goes on sale, the customer can immediately send in the order. This is made even easier with the advent of proximity marketing tools. The impact of this convenience and the attendant behavior change cannot be overstated.

3. Consumers have an increased awareness of what constitutes a deal

Black Friday’s hallmark was typically the deep discounting and limited availability of certain highly marked-down items — often loss leaders designed to get customers in the store to purchase other items sold for profit. The allure of this experience is waning, given that it’s easier than ever for price-sensitive consumers to compare an item’s selling price among many retailers right from their mobile devices. Consumers can get many of the same deals, especially concerning big-ticket items such as computers and home electronics, without having to camp out in line for 24 hours and miss holiday time with their families. This ease of price comparison and the ability to get similar discount levels is a considerable driver of customer behavior.

Though Black Friday is still an important holiday for retailers, Cyber Monday continues to grow and provide new opportunities for them to reach a wider range of holiday shoppers.

About The Author

Jonathan Hassell

President, 82 Ventures

Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, NC. He centers his focus around network administrator, security, the cloud, and mobile technologies.

Articles by Jonathan Hassell
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